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Monday, 07 November 2011 07:25

More "Siri is a Threat" Theories Pop Up...

Siri-2I love a good conspiracy theory on a Monday morning; they can be entertaining, enlightening and also very funny. The one I am talking about is the miss-quoting of Eric Schmidt during Google’s Anti-Trust senate hearings last week. During this hearing he made the statement “Apple's Siri is a significant development--a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search,” He followed this up with this statement “Google has many strong competitors and we sometimes fail to anticipate the competitive threat posed by new methods of accessing information.”

Now I have not been able to determine what order these things were said or what was said in between these two quotes. However, these two items have been used to bolster the idea that Siri is a “threat” to Google’s search empire. In fact at least one media outlet used that as a direct headline.  Now I do think that Google is keeping an eye on Siri as it is now owned wholly by Apple, but I do not think they view it as any type of real “threat”.

The problem comes from that fact (yes it is a fact) that Apple has no search engine framework. Siri takes the voice commands and compares them to internal commands. If it is not something that is part of its internal command structure it then looks it up through Apples authorization servers (which parse Google, Bing, Wolfram Alfa, Yelp etc.) The results that are returned are filtered and controlled by Apple’s servers (just as they are by most other search companies). Now this may sound just like Google or Bing etc., but it is not. The thing is that Apple is using other companies’ search indexing and processing power and then selecting their own results. They also (according to some source) lean heavily toward the Yelp service (for entertainment and restaurants). So while Siri is an interesting tool for Apple (one that they bought from another company) it is not a search engine or search framework. It is nothing more than filtered results from other search engines and services.

The second thing to consider is that this was Eric Schmidt testifying to Congress and trying to show that Google is not in violation of the US Anti-Trust laws. Can you really take these comments as “fact”? At the point you are in front of the Senate Committee you are likely to say anything that will make you look less guilty. His comment also never mentioned Siri as a “threat”. He said, “Apple's Siri is a significant development” which is true and something that no one (other than Andy Rubin at Microsoft) has denied. But Siri is not the only voice command service out there. Just take a quick look through the Android market and you will find quite a few that were in existence before Siri and you will also find that Siri was around as an App long before Apple bought them and then limited the App to just the iPhone 4S through the use of their internal servers.

This one conspiracy theory seems to be a lot more like spin than real fact to me. Siri is an important development, and one that will continue to grow, but there are competitors to Siri already in place and the market is far from Apple controlled. Yes, the search game is changing; but believe me Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others are perfectly safe from Siri.

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Published in Editorials
Sunday, 06 November 2011 09:21

Microsoft Launches Bing App for Android and iOS

bingSome interesting news on the mobile front this morning; after browsing around the net and looking for something interesting we stumbled across an article on Information Week that was as interesting in it market implications as it is puzzling. The article was an announcement of sorts explaining that the Bing app was now available for iOS and Android, but would not be released for Windows Phone just yet.

Now the thing about this that is puzzling is the need for a “Bing App”. Most people by now will be using a browser that allows you to choose your search engine. If you are looking for Bing then you can select it there and get your fill of Bing on that front. Even Apple’s mobile Safari has Bing as an option now.  We have checked and most modern phones will let you change the web search engine from Google (or whoever) to Bing, so on this front the app seems pretty pointless.

On the other hand if Microsoft is trying to replace the default “phone” search engine they are going to have a rough time. We grabbed the Bing App for Android 2.3 (on our EVO 3D) and it would not replace the default Google search feature that pops up when you press the search icon. It also was not able to replace any of the in-app search functions so we are not sure how this App fits in (unless it is just for those die-hard Bing users).

The final thought is that this might help extend the Bing search into the mobile market and in turn bring people over into the Microsoft fold. However, this is very unlikely as a search engine is not going to change your mind about a mobile phone. So what is up with Microsoft sending out the Bing Search App to Android and iOS? We honestly do not know what they are thinking and are making a guess that someone feels it will help them in the long run (obviously or they would not have done it).

As a final thought, you might hear that Microsoft releasing this for Android and iOS shows no confidence in their own Windows Phone Platform. This is simply not an accurate statement; you see Bing is the default phone search and web search on Windows Phone already. Why make an App when it is already there. Like we said, this one is both interesting and odd.

Oh, and one last thing… if you have an Android tablet and were thinking about grabbing this, well you might be a little surprised to find out that it is not available to non-3G Android devices. We attempted on two Android tablets and received the same warning. “This item is not available on your carrier”… Not exactly the way to extend your reach in the mobile market now is it…

bing

Source Information Week

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Published in News
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